Those who have backyard chickens love these amazing creatures and will go into detail about the different temperaments and personalities of each individual chicken. When the topic switches to what kind of chicken coop to provide for chickens, you are likely to hear some chilling accounts of chickens attacked by predators. Chickens are extremely vulnerable to predators such as raccoons, opossums, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, skunks, and mountain lions. Unfortunately, not all of the attractive chicken coops available are secure enough to repel hungry predators.
Knowing something about the common predators of chickens helps to define basic ways to protect them. For example, raccoons, opossums, and skunks are nocturnal, which means that it is important to close the entry to the chicken house at twilight when chickens go to sleep. At a minimum, the main ingredients of a secure chicken coop are four walls, a roof, a cement pad floor, and doors to the coop that latch tightly.
Locating the coop near your house allows you to keep close watch and take quick action if trouble occurs. In addition to providing a secure chicken house and coop, extra vigilant chicken owners install baby monitors and even security cameras in their chicken coops.
A perimeter fence at least 4-6 feet high can protect chickens when they are outside during the day. Above the coop a strong wire roof fastened tightly to the vertical fencing will block predators who try to enter the coop from above.
The information found on Creative Critter’s raccoon guide can guide the backyard chicken farmer through the basic details of safe chicken housing: the frame, the need for washers and screws, the sturdiest wire, why and where double fencing and underground fencing are needed, why a floor of cement or cement pavers is important, a protective roof, and what type of latch works best.
For those who want to purchase a more pre-fabricated coop, the site includes details on adapting a chain-link kennel to be the primary fencing for the coop. A chain link kennel kit can serve as a coop for chickens after its perimeter is reinforced above and below ground with ½” – 1/4” hardware cloth, a roof is installed, and the space between the ground, and the door that comes with the kennel kit is partially filled with cement pavers to keep out animals who dig.
One more important tip: Learn what attracts predators to your property (other than the chickens) and remove the attractants. Then the predators will be less tempted to come around.
By providing safe housing for your chickens you can look forward to enjoying them for many years. Everyone wins!
Visit creativecrittersolutions.org to learn more about all sorts of critter solutions.
And be sure to check out coops on this year’s Tour de Coop!